Drew Silva looks into Josh Bell's role after being traded to the Padres and discusses why all signs point to the 29-year-old becoming one of the top-producing first basemen in the majors during the final stretch.
DREW SILVA: Juan Soto was obviously the biggest prize for the Padres at the trade deadline. But they also got Josh Hader from the Brewers and Brandon Drury from the Reds. And of course, they landed Josh Bell from the Nationals as part of that blockbuster seven-player Soto swap. Bell is far from just a throw-in.
As of the completion of the trade, he was batting 301 with an 8.77 OPS, 14 home runs, and 57 RBIs through 103 games with Washington. And even through his relatively underwhelming first week in San Diego, Bell currently ranks in the 90th percentile of all MLB hitters in expected weighted on-base average, which measures the quality of contact a player is generating. In other words, Bell's quality of contact is nearly elite.
He has primarily batted cleanup so far with the Padres, right behind Soto and Manny Machado, which puts him in prime position to translate that quality contact into fantasy-relevant counting stats. And the impending return of Fernando Tatís, Jr. can only help that translation. It all lines up for Bell to be among the most productive first basemen in the Majors the rest of the way.